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Razer's Robert Krakoff - Co-founder & President Interview


by Stuart Davidson - 26th Jan 2009
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Robert Krakoff - Co-founder & President


DriverHeaven: Hi, can you introduce yourself to our readers and explain your position and duties within the company?

Robert: Im Robert Krakoff, also known as Razerguy and I am the co-founder and President of Razer. My main duties are to represent Razer to both the gaming and press communities and to help build the end users rapport to the Razer brand.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: At first glance the Lycosa and Arctosa seem very similar, can you outline the main differences between the two products for our readers.

Robert: They are very similar as they are both built on the same basic design and engineering system. The Lycosa is a full functioned backlight keyboard developed to retail at $79US, while the Arctosa is a gaming keyboard designed for the more budget conscious gamer and made to retail at $49US without backlighting.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: A few months ago we reviewed the Mako speakers and our staff were so impressed that several have since purchased this product. How successful have the Mako speakers been for Razer, have they met your expectations? And do you think you will produce products with THX in the future?

Robert: The Mako has been a critical success with both the end users and the press. Even the audiophile world has been impressed and the Mako has received a number of industry awards. We are currently in the early development stages for future speaker technologies and would certainly love the opportunity to work with the highly talented people at THX.

What I believe is most significant about the Mako project is the validation that Razer is more than just a mouse and gaming Hardware Company and has the wherewithal to develop products in the digital entertainment world and compete with the best of competitors.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: In recent times we have seen other manufacturers branch out into gaming mice and keyboards, do you see Razer needing to expand on the existing product range to continue competing in the market?

Robert: One of the key elements that make Razer so unique is that we develop, design and engineer all of our products internally. In an age where nearly every hardware manufacturer relies heavily on OEM makers Razer remains a bastion of innovation and creativity.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: What is the vision for the future in gaming for Razer, what is exciting you and what direction is the technology moving in?

Robert: This is a pretty complex question and therefore my reply is somewhat truncated.

Science has already made a rudimentary game that can read minds (or more accurately, measure concentration), through an implant that gives basic functionality of operating a computer to a quadriplegic, and another "implant" that helps a paraplegic to walk.

Were mapping the entire brain out, right down to the individual neurons, in an attempt to emulate intelligence from its source. This will be an important step forward in learning how the brain functions. Once we can harness the full power of reading minds then we will be able to tap into the brain directly, and create a two-way stream.

Suppose that I can scan your brain and nervous system with an advanced scanning technology at very high resolution, high band-width magnetic resonance imaging and ascertain all of the salient information processes and then download that information to a suitably advanced neural computer.

If my personal computer is a neural net of simulated neurons made of electronic stuff rather than human stuff, the version of you in my computer will run about a million times faster. Can you begin to see the possibilities of the future of game development and gaming?

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: Razer are known for being one of the leading companies in this sector, what do you do behind the scenes to ensure that you maintain that position?

Robert: We have a number of innovation strategies and practises in place to help us stay on top of what gamers really want and need. Often we seek their unmet needs both from our own product line and also from competitor's products. We have our sponsored players we can rely on for ideas, innovation, validation and testing; these are both professional and amateur players from around the world. We also have a very aggressive internship program in each of our offices where we hire hard core and professional gamers to intern in product development, marketing or community departments on every continent. Many of these interns wind up on our full time payroll. We also have an open forum through our community site or even direct email access to myself so we can hear both the good and the not so good about what we are doing. We encourage friends, fans and critics to contact us directly or through the various fan sites, where Razer Blueprints is the largest and oldest.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: Have you considered adding a mechanical keyboard to your line up? Or is it completely out of the question.

Robert: If the cost is reasonable and the user benefits of improved performance are realized this feature function is a possibility. We would need to test both mechanical vs. electrical keys for the optimum solution.

At Razer we seldom rule out any possibility. We are open to nearly any technology new or not so new so long as the end product can truly enhance the users experience. Usually that means a product that will help you beat the crap out of your buddy in the game of your choice.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: For a long time hardcore gamers have avoided Wireless mice like the plague, is the new Mamba is going to revolutionise that thinking and provide an experience that professional gamers will embrace?

Robert: We designed the Mamba to act and perform equal or better in many ways than any wired mouse, including many of our models. So far in our internal and gamer testing the results have been very good. Any day now we will complete the Mamba drivers and quality assurance testing will be completed. Immediately following that process we will release the Mamba to key members of the press around the world and they will break down all our engineering claims and report on its performance.

Personally I have been gaming with a T1 model of the Mamba for a month and have found it to be as responsive, accurate and precise in the wireless mode as any mouse I have ever used.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: The Razer Megalodon looks like it will be a phenomenal product, a headset with 7.1 surround sound utilising HRT technology developed by the French army to warn fighter pilots of incoming missiles. With such a high level of innovation for a gaming accessory, what is next for headsets? Where did the idea to use military technology for the headset come from?

Robert: Razer is always looking at a wide spectrum of technology, some of which we can adopt for gaming. There are many interesting military, medical and space age technology that may or may not be applicable for gaming or entertainment. We believe that to be on the bleeding edge of performance and precision we must be innovative internally and also look toward other technologies for inspiration.

Unfortunately proprietary or inside information prevents me from disclosing any of those technologies to you at this time. Just know that we are always looking and searching for new ideas, wherever they reside.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: The Megalodon is not Razers first surround sound headset, you also offer the Barracuda. Is the Megalodon an evolution of the Barracuda or a brand new product?

Robert: The Megalodon has been developed and engineered from the ground up and is not derivative of any past product. Whenever possible Razer engineers prefer to start a project with a clean piece of paper.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: How many individual woofers and tweeters are their in each earpiece?

Robert: Two 40mm drivers, with neodymium magnets, per earpiece.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: Will the Megalodon have a DVI style connector (HD-DAI) for the AC-1 gaming sound card or standard audio connectors/USB only?

Robert: The Megalodon uses a simple USB connector and does not require any proprietary parts.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: Does the end user require their own sound card when the Megalodon is installed or does it control all of the sound processing?

Robert: The Maelstrom engine overrides the internal sound card and therefore requires no system resources.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: When first designing the Megalodon what was the No.1 design goal?

Robert: There are really two parts of this project. When developing the Maelstrom engine the primary objective was to create the finest directional audio possible in a headset. When developing the physical headset the main objectives were sound clarity, user comfort and microphone communications.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: The marketing material for the Megalodon states "...Razer Maelstrom Audio Engine, which has the ability to process audio algorithms up to 800% faster than traditional HRTF virtual surround sound technologies" What exactly does this mean for the average gamer in real world situations?

Robert: Simply stated, improved audio quality.

GamingHeaven.net

DriverHeaven: Are there any plans in the works to expand on the current types of products you offer? Can we expect any surprises in the near future?

Robert:   One of the elements that make Razer so unique is that we develop, design and engineer all of our products internally. In an age where nearly every hardware manufacturer relies heavily on OEM makers Razer remains a bastion of innovation and creativity. While gaming hardware is our main business we have delved into the digital entertainment category with products like our Mako speakers and the Moray Earphones. Given our internal ability to innovate, engineer and design I wouldnt rule out and future surprises.
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